Michigan Black Professional Planners


Michigan Black Planning Professionals (MBPP) Section of the Michigan Association of Planning

The MBPP was formed in 2024 to create a space for networking, learning and service within the MAP organization for Black planners and ancillary professionals.  Add your name and contact information by completing this form to receive MBPP updates.

Michigan Black Planning Professionals Mission Statement

We believe that inclusive and equitable planning initiatives are crucial at the local, state, and national levels. We advocate for best planning practices, particularly among Black Planning Professionals and black communities. Our aim is to empower the representation of Black Planners within the planning profession and encourage the inclusion of planning-adjacent and design career paths.

History and Background

In 2010, in an effort to elevate the work of planners and planning in Detroit, MAP initiated a Breakfast, Beverages and Bright Ideas (BBB) network and learn initiative.  The initiative included regular neighborhood and building tours, planning and development panels, networking and social events, and a Book Group.  An objective of the initiative was to introduce MAP to planners in Detroit, and particularly planners of color, and to advance MAP’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.  While many planners of color worked in the Metro Detroit area, few were MAP members.

By 2017, the BBB had evolved into the Metro Detroit Planners (MDP) Section of the Michigan Chapter APA.  An Advisory Committee was formed, and events continued under the new moniker. With reinforced MAP administrative support in place, and a leadership team guiding activities, new ideas emerged and were implemented.

One of these, the Black Student Conference Scholarship Program, was piloted in 2022.  The goal of the BSCS Program was to create opportunities for students to attend the MAP conference, to intentionally and proactively include students in this important network and learn event, and to make it easy, financially and socially, to participate fully.  By year two, students were provided with mentors, a luncheon with Black professional planners, and scheduled meet ups during the conference.  

The luncheon at the 2023 MAP Conference led to deeper discussions among Black planners about re-initiating previously attempted Black urbanist initiatives as a MAP program.  With full philosophical and administrative support of MAP, the Michigan Black Planning Professionals is gearing up to be an important professional and networking space for Black planners in Michigan.

Kick off Meeting

The MBPP was launched on March 20, 2024, with an introductory meeting.  With more than 30 participants, it was clear that there was support and appetite for this initiative.  Watch the kick off meeting here.  At the kickoff meeting, the initiative was introduced, and a leadership team formed.  In addition, a committee structure was also formed, with opportunities to join a committee to further advance the objectives of the MBPP section.

MBPP Upcoming Events

We are excited to invite you to the Michigan Black Professional Planners (MBPP) Virtual Meeting, scheduled for July 24th at 5:30 PM. This meeting is a great opportunity to connect with fellow professionals, discuss upcoming workshops and activities, and review the 2024 MAP Conference Agenda. We will also provide updates from various committees.

Complete agenda here.

Register via Zoom by following this link

Organizational Structure

Leadership Team

A leadership team was established that will guide the program going forward with input from MBPP members and participants.

Chair – Donovan Smith, MCKA

Vice-Chair – Ken Hall, City of Lansing

Secretary – Justin Curry, City of Pontiac

APA Liaison – Adrienne Ziegler, HUD

MAP Liaison - Shari Williams, Detroit Future City

Emerging Professional – Dominique Boyer, City of Detroit

Student Liaison – Naomi Bailey, University of Michigan


Social Committee – LaTarro Traylor, Chair

The Social Committee will explore and program social events

Education and Programming Committee- Adrienne Ziegler, Chair

This committee will implement programs on topics that will expand the knowledge of the MBPP membership base and the community at large. The committee will seek to engage the MBPP membership with relevant programing for each professional career level.  The committee will aim to create programing that will introduce Black youth to the field of urban planning. 

Conference Committee Excursion/mobile workshop - Justin Curry, Chair

This committee will research a potential MBPP sponsored mobile tour at the 2024 Planning Michigan Conference. 

Conference Committee Workshop – Marja Farrow, Chair

The conference committee will identify MBPP sponsored sessions to submit for the MAP Annual Conference.


MAP, the Michigan Chapter of the American Planning Association, is a membership based, professional organization.  There are several ways to join MAP, and the American Planning Association.

MAP Chapter Only Member - $65 annually – this membership level is most relevant for non-traditional planners, those working in planning adjacent fields, or for those who do not intend to secure AICP Certification (APA National membership is required to achieve certification)  LINK

APA Membership – Membership dues are salary based, and Michigan Chapter membership is included with the APA dues.  This membership is appropriate for those who ARE working as professional planners, and may be interested in becoming certified planners.  APA provides the opportunity to join divisions, including the Planners in the Black Community Division ($25 for Division dues).  https://www.planning.org/membership/

APA Student Membership – APA student membership is FREE to students! www.planning.org/join/students

APA New Member – Only $99 for the first two years as an APA member

Black Student Conference Scholarship

The Metro Detroit Planners (MDP) Section of MAP piloted a Black Student Conference Scholarship Program in 2022 and raised enough funds to send 5 Black students, all expenses paid, to the MAP Planning Michigan conference.  The program was institutionalized in 2023, and additional on site supports were added like a mentor, scheduled meet ups, and a Black Student and Professional Luncheon.  Click on the button below to donate funds for scholarships to the 2024 Planning Michigan conference.